When the train I was taking stopped about 500 yards short of the platform, some of us on board took it in stride. We thought it was a momentary delay. But, it turned out to be closer to 15 minutes, which, according to the voices I heard around me, it’s roughly, the equivalent of eternity for a frantic commuter.
At around ten minutes, a cheer went up in our car. We thought we were finally moving. But, the joke was on us, we realized that it was only the train beside ours that was moving, - in the opposite direction! It’s a strange sensation to discover you’re going no-where when everything in your brain is telling you otherwise. What tipped us off to our disorientation that day, was a reference point: a large brick building came into view after the other train passed.
All of us have reference points in our lives that provide us with our daily bearings. They possess generative qualities that fuel life. They ground us, challenge us to create meaning, and offer us a sense of place. Because these reference points are fixed, they help us gain orientation in what can be a chaotic world. Where they are absent, life feels more precarious. – It may be that little silver cross you carry in your pocket – that reminds you of your faith. Or that two-minute phone call you place to your mother every night – is a reference point of togetherness and love for both of you.
It’s curious that both, the tree of life and the tree of forbidden fruit, - are placed in the center of the Garden of Eden. It seems that, the center is where God belongs in our lives. But, like Adam, we may end up treating God as if God were at the periphery. And where there’s no center, or where we become the center, the circumference of life disappears.
From time to time, we may feel our purpose in life is at a standstill, and our faith has become vague and fuzzy. These are signs that it’s time to gather again with your congregation to hear God’s Word among you and enjoy God’s creative work in your hands. It’s good to be a part of a congregation that is committed to continually help focus the fellowship and ministries that center our lives. Grounded in our tradition, and gifted with challenging friends and neighbors, our ongoing and changing purpose together – is still a reference point for our journeys of faith. For a decade, this congregation has been a GPS for me. It helps me keep centered in Christ and leads me to places of need and interest. I give thanks for your sharing what steadies many of life-traveler, - your expressions of faith – in love of God and neighbor.
Thanks and Peace,